Harvard club won't allow women in for a pretty tone-deaf reason
Harvard’s Porcelain Club is a super old, sort of secretive, highly exclusive, frat-like social gentleman’s club that first came into existence in 1791. And since 1791, the club has admitted exactly zero females into its elite society.
Members of the secretive final club include some pretty prestigious names like President Theodore Roosevelt, Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, and the Winklevoss twins (you know, the guys from Social Network).
The University has requested for clubs to finally include women, after centuries of… well… not including them. Last month, a Harvard report linked final clubs with “nonconsensual sexual contact.” In response, the Porcelain Club (PC for short) broke its many years of silence to publicly dismiss the request.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time an officer of the PC has granted an on-the-record statement to a newspaper since our founding in 1791,” Charles Storey, the club’s graduate board president and a graduate from the class of ’82, wrote to Harvard’s student newspaper the Crimson. “This reflects both the PC’s abiding interest in privacy and the importance of the situation.”
Storey argued that forcing single gender clubs to include female members would “potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct.” In other words, inviting women to join the club wouldn’t simply give them access to everything the club has to offer (all the things the male members freely enjoy), rather it would put their safety at risk. Because men.
Rakesh Khurana, Dean of the College, told the Crimson that “single gender social organizations at Harvard College remain at odds with the aspirations of the 21st century society to which the College hopes and expects our students will contribute.”
“Given our policies, we are mystified as to why the current administration feels that forcing our club to accept female members would reduce the incidence of sexual assault on campus,” Storey added. “I sincerely hope that the administration will not set the precedent of creating a ‘blacklist’ of organizations that students cannot join. Such McCarthyism is a dangerous road that would be a blow to academic freedom, the spirit of tolerance, and the long tradition of free association on campus.”
Storey isn’t the only PC Club member who hasn’t entered the 21st century. An anonymous club member told the Washington Post that the university’s equality efforts would get in the way of the club’s intention to develop “deep male friendships.”
“We don’t want to be involved in anyone else’s business, we just want to be left alone to carry on our 225-year traditions in peace,” he wrote in an email.
There are so many things wrong with this entire situation. We just hope that one day soon that members of the club (and all university clubs everywhere) decide to get on the right side of history. The side where women aren’t excluded because men can’t not sexually assault them.